Friday, September 29, 2023

Just Me – Janine Vasalli – 5.24.2006

By Rick Racela

One-fourth of my college career is over.
I am one-fourth of the way closer to the “real world.” Whatever that is.
And one-fourth of the way through what has been the best experience of my life.
Despite the high standard of academics at Georgetown, though, I think that the most important lesson I’ve learned is that college is not just about the education, the grades, and the competition.
It’s also about the people. And more specifically, it’s about the people who have changed my life forever.
Still, I was forced to return to a place, home, where everything, yet absolutely nothing, was the same.
After only a day back home, I realized what I left back at school and what I really was going to miss.
For the next three months, it is no longer just a short walk to visit a friend.
Now, some friends live all the way across the country. The time difference even makes online conversations hard to coordinate.
I am going to miss the perpetual procrastination with those to whom I am closest.
I may complain that I spent 12 hours in the library in one day before one of my finals. It makes me seem so hardcore.
But library trips during finals definitely transformed into almost a social outing. If you subtract the hours that I spent taking several “coffee breaks” or the time I spent in online chat-rooms with friends in cubicles right next to mine, those 12 hours subside considerably.
The end of this year also brings with it the end of walks across campus to the gym or to the dining hall.
At least until next year, no more dining hall means no more chicken finger Thursdays, no more amazing cookies after every meal, and no more tacos for Saturday brunch.
I’m going to miss weekends, especially weekend nights, when my friends and I, as the obvious freshmen, would wander around just trying to find a place to be accepted.
Weekends also brought the late night phone calls and text messages from friends wondering where I was and if we could meet up.
 My phone barely rings past 11 p.m. now that I’m at home.
Good-byes are difficult, although I guess I am lucky in the fact that I was the first one of my friends to actually have to leave campus.
I figured it was like pulling off a band-aid. Just get it done quickly.
My first good-bye was with a close guy friend of mine the night before I was to leave.
We got sandwiches at a place on campus we’ve frequented sometimes together, and then we just hung out in his room for a few hours.
It wasn’t much, but it was really nice to spend time with him before I had to say good-bye.
He is from California so this good-bye was for the entire summer. I gave him a hug, and then I quickly exited.
I spent the rest of the night in my friends’ dorm, doing basically nothing. It’s amazing how much fun just being with people that mean so much to you can actually be, even if you are doing absolutely nothing except talking or playing video games.
The next day, I had to say good-bye to everyone else, yet I guess the finality of it hadn’t really hit me yet.
I gave the hugs and took the pictures. I made the promises to keep in touch and to call or e-mail, but it just felt like I was leaving for a week like every other break we’ve been on.
There’s so much from my freshman year of college that has made lasting impressions on my life.
I’ll remember my roommate and my nerves at first meeting her, at setting up our room and then at taking down the last picture before I moved out.
I’ll remember those first close friends I made that I thought were going to be my bridesmaids someday, who, within only a few months, became only acquaintances.
I will never forget those days I felt so incredibly alone and that I couldn’t relate to anyone at my school. And I will always remember those amazing friends who cheered me up and were truly there for me.
I’ll remember the first guy that caught my eye, and the guy I held onto longest as a college crush.
Mostly, I’ll remember to always keep in touch and never to let anyone go. No matter if they’ve hurt or help me, every person in my life has made an impact on who I am now.
When I leave Georgetown for good in three more years, I will know that I am leaving with so much more than I walked in with, and that I am a better, and truly happier, person for it.
Visalli, 18, of Wildwood Crest, is a freshman at Georgetown University.

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